Visually, HAMLET is a feast, and the epic is so beautifully crafted, it’s no wonder Marvel hired Branagh to shoot the upcoming THOR. If he’s able to give it the same epic feel as we have here, then we’re in good hands.
For the most part, HAMLET is a flawless adaptation of the play. Branagh is exceptional, as is Jacobi (who likely sprang from his mother’s womb quoting Shakespeare) and the rest of the English cast including an impossibly young Kate Winslet as Orphelia (this was done one year before TITANIC). My only issue with the film is the numerous cameos by American stars of the day, including Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau and Gérard Dépardieu (to be fair, a Frenchman playing a Frenchman- so it fits). All of them are fine actors, but they do NOT belong here. This is evident from the first scene where Lemmon appears as the captain of the guard. In just about everything he ever did, Lemmon was brilliant, but here he just does not belong- nor do any of the other “stars”. Williams and Crystal chew the scenery mercilessly in their tiny roles- and its bits like this that distract from an otherwise sumptuous film.
On this disc itself, we get a four hour commentary by Branagh and Shakespearean expert Russell Jackson. Next up, an introduction by Branagh in HD, a vintage promo from Cannes , the trailer , and a thirty minute documentary about the making of the film.